The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) first digital fair, ‘Firsts London Online‘, will start on June 5, coinciding with the physical fair’s original opening date. The digital fair will replace the cancelled annual rare book fair which was due to take place in London from June 5 to 7, 2020.
Hosted on the event’s dedicated website FirstsLondon.com, the online fair will be launched to the public at 2pm on Friday 5 June and will feature items from top international dealers including Sophia Rare Books (Denmark), Antiquariat Dasa Pahor GbR (Germany), Imperial Fine Books Inc (USA), Bruce Marshall (UK) and Charlotte Du Rietz Rare Books (Sweden) to name a few.
Each exhibitor has been invited to showcase up to 12 highlights from what would have been their exhibited stock at the annual fair in London. This smaller showcase of items has encouraged the dealers to upload many of their most interesting and significant pieces, creating a remarkable and diverse selection from around the world.
Some key highlights include:
First edition of Rene Descartes’ first and most famous work ‘Discours de la methode pour bien conduire la raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences’  by exhibitor Sophia Rare Books
An album of annotated watercolours by amateur ornithologist Thomas Howitt, drawn after Alexander Wilson’s ‘American Ornithology’  by exhibitor Antiquariat Michael Kühn
One of only five pages of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club manuscript by Charles Dickens remaining in private hands [c. April 1837] by exhibitor Peter Harrington
Manuscript of Discourse by Sir William Petty made before the Royal Society on November 26, 1674 to persuade for the scientific use of mathematics to human affairs by exhibitor Nigel Phillips Rare Books
Signed Odham’s Press edition in four volumes of Sir Winston Churchill’s ‘My Early Life – Thoughts and Adventures – Great Contemporaries’  by exhibitor Paul Foster Books
The ‘Exhibitor’s Highlights’ section will be launched at 2pm Friday 5 June and will feature contact details for each individual exhibitor. Items will be searchable by category, dealer, and keyword with each item featuring a brief description, condition, and price.
Viewers and customers will be able to contact dealers directly and enquire on particular items.
Speaking on the launch of the digital event, Fair Chairman Pom Harrington said: “Fairs remain an important fixture in the world of fine collectables and art, and virtual fairs are being embraced by dealers and customers alike. We are delighted to be able to host Firsts London in a digital format this year and provide our exhibitors and colleagues a platform to showcase their items.
The ABA already had a great asset in the Firsts London website, which enabled this new venture to move ahead fairly seamlessly. We thank our exhibitors for fully supporting the digital fair format and are confident it will be a success.”